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in the Collection of the 
Cooper-Hewitt Museum 







The Smithsonian Instityfipn s 




Inside front cover 

Sales Book of Sample Buttons 

France, late 18th century 

Metal foil, thread, and paillettes 

41 cm. (height) 

Gift ofElea nor a nd Sa rah Hewitt 

Cover 

Sales Book of Sample Buttons 

France, late 18th century 

Metal fod, thread, and paillettes 

32 cm. (height) 

Giftof Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt 

Diameter is given, unless otherwise 
specified. Roman numerals refer to 
donors; seepage 31. 




Design: Gottschalk + Ash 

International 

Typesetting: by Concept 

Typographers 

Printing: Faculty Press 

Photograpiis: Terry Ferrante 

©1982 by The Smithsonian 

Institution 

All rights reserved 

Library of Congress Catalog No. 

82-072123 



^7^ Buttons 

C77 ' 



in the Collection of 
the Copper-Hewitt 
Museum^ 



The Smithsonian 
Institution's 
National Museum of 
Design 




w 



Foreword 



Petit Courrier des Dames: 

Modes de Pans. Pans, 

April 30. 183^ 

Detail plate 54: "Modes de 

Lnng-chnmps" 

Gift oj Vyi<yan Holland 

I980-36-32S6 



The little object of ornament and utility 
called the button is not so trivial as the 
scant literature about its history would 
suggest. At the present time, there is a 
new wave of enthusiasm for button col- 
lecting, stimulated no doubt by the low 
cost and modest space-requirements of 
buttons, as well as by the variety and 
quality of their design. Button collectors 
have available to them an astonishing 
array of materials, techniques, and 
designs that offer a miniature-sized 
glimpse into the history of decoration, 
as well as a view of the social and eco- 
nomic history of fashion. 



The Cooper-Hewitt's button collection 
was featured in an exhibition entitled 
Four Thousand and One Buttons 
organized by Carl C. Dauterman at the 
Cooper Union Museum in 1940. To 
accompany the exhibition, Mr Dauter- 
man contributed an article on the history 
of buttons for the Museum Chronicle of 
that yean He has graciously consented to 
have this article reprinted, adding to his 
original text new information and mate- 
rials that have become a part of this col- 
lection since then. 

We are pleased that the appearance of 
this handbook on our delightful collec- 
tion of buttons coincides with the show- 
ing of the exhibition Button, Buttoji, 
which has been funded by the New York 
State Council on the Arts. The publica- 
tion of this handbook was made possible 
through the generosity of the Wellington 
Foundation, Inc., and the Andrew W. 
Mellon Foundation. We are deeply 
grateful for their kind support. 



Lisa Taylor 
Director 



Buttons 



What is the earliest known button? The 
answer depends entirely upon the kind 
of button that is meant, for many things 
have been called buttons that have 
nothing at all to do with holding articles 
of clothing together The buttons that 
the Egyptians are said to have worn as 
early as the Sixth Dynasty were actually 
badges worn suspended singly from a 
string about the neck. Buttons of glass 
and gold leaf have been found among 
the Mycenaean ruins of 1500 B.C. Many 
of us are familiar with the buttons that 
appear on the bridles of horses in Assy- 
rian sculpture, and the Schliemann site 
at Mycenae yielded buttons of gold. 
Nevertheless, for documenting the use 
of buttons attached to costumes we have 
no conclusive evidence among the 
remains of any of the early Mediterra- 
nean cultures. 



The Milliner it Dressmaker 

and Warehouseman's Gazette, 

Pans. May 1877 

Detail plate 1406: "Bnihl Toilets" 

GiftofVyi^an Holland 

1980-36-4008 




Some of the first records of true but- 
tons on European costume exist in the 
architectural sculpture and the literature 
of the late twelfth and early thirteenth 
centuries. Among the sculpted figures 
on Chartres Cathedral may be seen 
women wearing a row of small closely 
spaced buttons on each sleeve. That the 
fashion was shared by men is docu- 
mented in lines from one of the medieval 
manuscripts assembled by Sir Robert 
Bruce Cotton: 

"Botones azured 
wore ilke ane 
From his elboth to 
his hand!' 



Buttons 











The fashioning of gold and silver 
buttons was for several centuries most 
often restricted to the workshops of 
jewelers, because pearls, sapphires, and 
other precious stones were used in their 
embellishment. In the middle of the 
thirteenth century, a corporation of 
button-makers was formed in France to 
supply the growing market. Gradually 
craftsmen appeared who made buttons 
of more ordinary materials; in the four- 
teenth century, ivory, bone, and horn 
were fashioned into buttons by bead- 
makers. Sheet metal and wire, espe- 
cially brass and copper, were also used 
at this time. These early costume but- 
tons were essentially ornamental; the 
prosaic task of fastening one's clothing 
was still left to pins, buckles, and girdles. 

As time went by, the demand for but- 
tons grew. While in the fourteenth cen- 
tury a woman's cloak might have fifty 



buttons, and a man's doublet nearly 
eighty, in the sixteenth century 13,600 
gold buttons were used on a single cos- 
tume belonging to the king of France, 
Francois I. With buttons so prized by 
royalty, a demand for them among the 
lesser folk was a natural development. 
It is not surprising that during the six- 
teenth century buttons were adopted by 
the common people as objects of utility 
and fashion. 

Without question the great period in 
the history of button design was the 
eighteenth century. Jeweled buttons in 
particular became increasingly ingeni- 
ous in design, as evidenced by the dia- 
mond buttons worn by the Comte 
d'Artois, Philippe d'Orleans, Regent of 
France, each of which encased a minia- 
ture watch. More usual were buttons of 
other cut stones and of mother-of-pearl 
encrusted with silver and gold. By the 
middle of the century, the English had 
brought the manufacture of buttons of 
cut steel to a high development. These 
always rank among the most interesting 
of buttons from the standpoint of 



Buttons 





craftsmanship as each of the faceted bits 
of steel with which they are studded — 
on some it may be a hundred or more — 
was separately cut and polished before 
being riveted to a disc of metal . I n the 
last quarter of the century cut steel but- 
tons enjoyed great popularity in France 
and became an important article of 
commerce. Buttons have even contrib- 
uted their special importance to the 
field of legislation; during the reign of 
the English King William III, a law of 
1698 was recorded as "An Act to Pre- 
vent the Making or Selling of Buttons 
made of Cloth, Serge, Drugget, or 
other Stuffs," in an effort to protect the 
makers who relied upon the fabrication 
of silk, mohair, gimp, and thread but- 



tons. The wording of the Act of Parlia- 
ment proclaimed that the "maintenance 
and subsistence of many thousands of 
men, women and children" were 
dependent upon this protection. 

Other specialized types of buttons 
grew up during the eighteenth century; 
one of the most interesting is the "pic- 
ture" button. Many such buttons carry 
small scenes painted on metal or ivory, 
fitted with domed glass covers to protect 
the fragile painted surfaces. Among the 
classes of ornamentation for such but- 
tons were subjects after the antique, his- 
torical scenes, and portraits. 

Jean-Baptiste Isabey (1767-1855) is 
known to have painted buttons during 
his youth, copying tableaux of lovers, 
flowers, and landscapes derived from 
Boucher and Van Loo. Similarly, figures 
after Watteau and Greuze were applied 
to buttons in paint and in enamel. In the 
Cooper-Hewitt collection is a particularly 
distinguished group of buttons painted 
with scenes of everyday life in Haiti. 



Buttons 










True miniatures, they were the work of 
the Italo-English artist Agostino Brunias 
(active 1763-79) and are traditionally 
believed to have been owned by the col- 
orful Toussaint I'Ouverture, Governor 
of Haiti from 1801 until 1802. 

In the late eighteenth century 
architectural subjects became popular, 
and collectors were able to form "gal- 
leries" of button pictures of the monu- 
ments of Paris. Another variety of 
painted buttons was the balloon button, 
reflecting the interest in balloon ascen- 
sions aroused by the Montgolfier 
brothers. Revolutionary themes and 
symbols replaced these subjects in 
France during the closing years of the 
century. Makers of these functional 
ornaments during the eighteenth and 
early nineteenth centuries showed great 
inventiveness in the variety of materials 
they employed. Some excellent work was 



done in porcelain decorated with deli- 
cate figures and flowers, sometimes with 
the surface modeled to represent woven 
material. Wedgwood and his con- 
temporaries supplied blue-and-white 
stoneware buttons with portraits, 
trophies, and antique subjects in very low 
relief. Little shells, insects, and mosses 
were arranged under glass into composi- 
tions resembling miniature habitat 
groups, and in the same way small but- 
terflies and birds were fashioned of 
brightly colored feathers. Metal buttons 
were made for both civil and military 
wear Chiefly used were silver, copper, 
and alloys such as pewter, bell-metal, 
pinchbeck, bronze, and brass. Plating of 



Natural 
Substances 





B 





1. Probably China or Japan, late 
J 9th century. Ivory, 4.3 cm.. Ill 

2. "Habitat" button: Europe or 
United States, late 1 9th'early 20th 
century. Glass, shells, seaweed 
metal, 3.6 cm.. V 

3. France, late 19th century 
Antler. 3 cm.. IX 

4a, b. Japan, late 1 9th century 
Ivory, shell. 3 cm., XI, III 

5. Europe. mid-I9th century 
Wood, 1.2 cm.. I 




6. Probably France, latel9thcen- 
tury. Antler, 3 cm., I 

7. Probably Europe, late 19th cen- 
tury. Tbrioiseshell, inlaid silver wire 
3.5 cm.. Ill 

S. Probably United States, 20th cen- 
tury. Elk horn, 2.8x3. 6 cm., X 



Metal 




L France, 19th centun 
Metallic foils, copper, bniss, glass 
3.7 cm. J 

2a. b. Japan, late 1 9th century 
Shakudo, copper, gold, silver 

3.3 cm., in 

3. France, late 18th century 
Brass, 3.4 cm., 1 

4. France, late ISck-early 19th cen- 
tury. Copper, plaster, glass. 4 cm. . / 

5. United States, late 19th-early 
20th century. Brass, 3 .8 cm.. Ill 

6. Europe or United States, late 
19th-early 20th century 
Brass, 3. 8 cm., V 

7. France, about 1880. Made by 
A.P.^ Cie., Paris, Brass, wood 

4.4 cm., I 

8. Italy. 19th century 
Brass, copper, (ni, 4.5 cm., I 

9. UnUed States, late 19th century 
Made by John Patterson ^ Co., 
Neu' York. Brass, 2.6cm., IX 

10. France, late 19th century 
Gilded brass, 2.4 cm., I 



11. France, late 19th century 
Made by Auguste Dusautoy. Pans -> 
Gilded brass, 3 cm. . I 

12. France, late 19th century 
Brass, steel, 1.4 cm.. I 

13. Europe, late 19th century 
Metal, glass, 4.8 cm.. Ill 

14. England, 19thcenXury 
Brass and steel, 2. 2 cm., I 

15. Europeor Ujitted States, late 
19th-early 20th century. Brass, 3.1 
cm.. Ill 

16. Possibly Scandinavian. 19th 
century. Silver, silver JUigree 
4.8 cm.. XIX 

17. France, late 19th century 
Cut steel, brass, 2.7 cm., I 




IS. France, about 1890 
Nickel, 3.8 cm., XII 

19. France, 19thcentury. Steel 
iridescent, 4.4 cm., 1 

20. France, 19th century. Steel 
brass, copper, tin, 3.8 cm., I 

21. France, 1800-1850. Steel 
gilded, 3.8 cm., I 



♦ -» •^ 



/ 






«?•* 



// 



Buttons 










base metals with silver and gold was 
common. When the nature of the metal 
made it practicable, buttons were cast in 
one piece with the shank; otherwise, 
loops of durable wire were soldered to 
the backs to increase the length of wear. 
Frequendy a tooled or stamped metal 
foil was applied over a core or mold of 
wood, bone, or ivory. Buttons made in 
this way were colorful when decorated 
with spangles or embroidered designs in 
metal thread. 



In America, the colonists were chiefly 
supplied with buttons by England. Colo- 
nial American button-makers entered 
the scene in 1706, when a manufactory 
was established in New England. In 
Philadelphia, Casper Wistar made brass 
buttons and buckles before 1750; shordy 
afterward, Henry Witeman, another 
Philadelphian, began the manufacture 
of metal buttons near the Fly Market in 
New York. Joseph Hopkins, in Water- 
bury, Connecticut, made sterling silver 
and silver-covered buttons in 1753. Ben- 
jamin Randolph, the master cabinet- 
maker of Philadelphia, announced in an 
advertisement dated 1770 that he was 
making buttons "of apple, holly, and 
laurel wood hard and clear." In 1774, the 
Provincial Congress of Massachusetts 
recommended the use of domestic 
papier-mache buttons to reduce the 
imports from the mother country. Very 
soon after the Revolution, however, "but- 
tons, buckles, and other trinkets" were 



12 



Buttons 



being imported annually into this coun- 
try to the value of $60,000. At that time 
silk buttons were being made by house- 
hold manufacture, especially in Con- 
necticut. The familiar name of Baron 
von Steuben figures in button history 
through his invention, in 1789, of a but- 
ton of conch shell to be worn with cos- 
tumes of pepper-and-salt colors. In those 
years people made horn and pewter but- 
tons at home, sometimes using the molds 
which itinerant peddlers carried as part 
of their stock-in-trade. Gradually button 
making became an occupation for group 
employment. In Waterbury in 1790 the 
brothers Samuel, Henry, and Silas Gril- 
ley opened a shop for the manufacture 



■S -^ 





of pewter costume buttons. At the same 
time groups of Shakers were turning out 
jacket, coat, and sleeve buttons in 
polished brass, pewter, and horn covered 
with cloth. In Philadelphia there were 
two button factories in 1797; by the fol- 
lowing year metal buttons were being 
made in large quantities in Massa- 
chusetts, particularly in the counties of 
Plymouth and Bristol. 

In the middle of the nineteenth cen- 
tury about twenty thousand people were 
employed in making buttons in France. 
There was an especially great demand 
for porcelain buttons, the manufacture 
of which flourished at Montereau and 
Briare, respectively within fifty and one 
hundred miles of the capital. Paris was 
the center for covered buttons and those 
of metal, enamel, shell, bone, and horn. 



e ,= 
iS -I 




Shell 





1. France, 19th century 
Shell, paste jewel, copper 
3.8 cm., I 




Ij. V 



9a 




9b 



2. France, 19th century. Shell 
brass, 3.5 cm... 1 

3. Europe, 19th century. Shell, paste 
jewel, metallic thread, 3.7 cm., 1 

4. France, 19th century. Shell, paste 
jewel, copper, 3 .8 cm.. 1 

5. France. 19th century. Shell 
engraved, paint, 3.1 cm., 1 



6. Europe, 19th century. Shell 
(pierced), 3.2 cm.. Ill 

7. France, 19th century. Shell 
3.8 cm.. I 

8. France, possibly 18th century 
Shell, copper, 3.5 cm., I 

9a, h. Europe, 19th century 
Shell, engraved, 3.8 cm.. Ill 




16 







#• 





10. France, 19th century. Shell, 
engraved, paint, 3.8 cm., 1 

11. France, I9thcentury 
Shell, ccfpper, 3.2 cm., 1 

12. France, 19th century. Engraved 
shell. CQpper, tin, 3.6 cm.. 1 

13. France, 19th century. Shell, 
steel, copper, 4 cm., 1 

14. France, 19thcentury 
Shell, paint, 3. 3 cm., I 




15. France, 19th century. Shell, and 
copper, 3.4 cm., I 

16. Frame, 19thcentury. Shell, 
steel, glass, and copper. 

3.6 cm., 1 



IS 



Enamel and Stone 




/. France, 19th century. Enamel on 
metal, 3.8 cm., I 

2a, b. United States. 19thcentury 
Nephrite, brass, steel, 4 cm., I 

3. United States. 19th century 
Composition stone, 4 cm., I 

4. FrarKe, 19th century 
Enamel on brass, 4.2 cm., 1 




5. Europe, (ate I9th century 
Enamel, gilded metal, shell 
3.5 cm., XIII 

6. Europe or UnitedStates. 19th 
century. Composition stone 
3.1 cm., I 

7. Italy, 19th century. Carved lava 
metal, 3.2 cm., I 

8. UnitedStates. late 1 9th century 
Enamelon metal, 3 cm., IX 

9. Europe, I9th century 
Enamel on metal, 3 cm.. Ill 

10a, b. Europe, 19th century 
Enamel on m£tal, garnets 
2.5x3cm.,l 

11a, b. France, 19thcentury 
Agate, 2.3 cm., I 



10a 







16 



Buttons 







Germany ranked second in number of 
workers. In addition to her active home 
market, she furnished great quantities of 
cheap buttons to England, Russia, Spain, 
Italy, and the United States. 

In England, Birmingham was the 
leading producer of buttons, and made a 
particularly large number in shell. This 
posidon of prominence was challenged 
only by the button-makers of Vienna. 
The East Indies, Manila, the Bay of 
Panama, the Red Sea, and the Persian 
Gulf were the main sources of supply of 
the raw shells, and the industry thus 
necessitated an active international 
trade. Not all British buttons were of 
shell; any Dickens reader will recall the 
large buttons of brass or horn which men 
wore on their Pickwick coats in the late 
1830s. Indeed, quantities of covered but- 
tons and others of metal, nut, and hoof 
were also made in Birmingham. Notable 
types of buttons from other parts of 
Europe were engraved silver ones made 
in the Netherlands, silver filigree buttons 



fashioned in Spain, miniature mosaics 
from Italy, and glass buttons from 
Bohemia. 

The nineteenth century marked the 
establishment and growth of several 
branches of button manufacture in the 
United States. The worn-out ketdes of 
the New England rum distilleries and 
the discarded sheathing from the ship- 
yards were valuable sources of copper 
that were alloyed with imported zinc to 
produce brass. The brass was converted 
into sheets before being stamped into 
buttons. Waterbury became the leading 
center for this process. 



n 



Glass 









3a 





la.b.cd. U luted Stales, early 20th 
centuu. Glass. 1.2 cm. to 
1.5cm..X,V 



6a 




2. Miltville. New Jersey, 19-12 
Made hy Winfield Rutter 
Glass.I.2cm..XVI 

3a, I). United Slates, early 20th 
century. Glass. 2.3 cm., X 

4a, b. France or England, early 
1 9th century. Gla^s, composition, 
metal. 3.7 cm.. Ill 

5a. b. Frame or England, early 
19th ceiuury. Glass, composition, 
metal 2.2 cm.. Ill 

6a. b. Italy, 19th century 
Gla^s mosaic, metal 
2.5 cm. Ill 

la. b. c. d. Italy. I9th century 
Glass mosaic, malachite, gold 
1.8 cm. .Ill 

8. France. 19lh century 
Glass, gilding 2.S cm. , I 



9. Pressberg, Czechoslovakia, abimt 
1930. Glass; rifadefor Mainbocher 
2.9cm. .VUl 

10. France, 19th centun. Glass, 
shell, 3. 8 cm., 1 

11. United States, 1900-1910 
Class, metal, 3.5 cm., Vll 

12. France. 19th century. Paste 
jewels, steel, 2.7 cm., I 

13. Possibly England, early 19th 
century. Glass, composition, metal 
3.6cm., Ill 











I ■ 



Buttons 




In 1816, Abel Porter and Company 
became Leavenworth, Hayden and 
Scovill, and continued to make buttons 
of naively high quality until 1821, when 
Jonas Craft, an immigrant, revealed to 
them a British method of making three- 
pence worth of gold go as far as a dollar's 
worth. In 1868, the Scovill Manufactur- 
ing Company produced 1500 gross of 
brass buttons daily. Among the interest- 
ing designs struck here were buttons 
with the portrait of George Washington, 
a set of which was given to the Marquis 
de Lafayette in 1824, buttons for the 
projected Texas Navy, for the Pony 
Express, and for trainmen of the "iron 
horse" era. Other localities which 
became prominent for their metal but- 
tons were Attleboro and Hayden ville, 
Massachusetts. 



As early as 1802 the firm of Abel 
Porter and Company was formed, 
engaging thirteen men in making gilded 
buttons from sheet brass. With the decla- 
ration of war in 1812 Aaron Benedict of 
Waterbury foresaw the demand for mili- 
tary buttons of brass. He forthwith 
bought all the old brass wares he could 
find, and when his supply of brass was 
gone he resorted to pewter. His success 
eventually led to the establishment of a 
large organization which became the 
Waterbury Button Company. 



-S K 

Si 



-S >= 




20 



Fabric 






1. Europe, 19th century 
Silk, 3.4 cm., V 

2. Europe, late ISth-early 19th cen- 
tury. Eabnc, metal, glass 

3.5 cm.. Ill 



3 . Europe or United States, late 

1 9th-early 20th century. Silk, 4 cm., 
XVII 

4. Europe, 19th century 

Silk, metallic thread, 2.9 cm.. Ill 

5. Europe, late 19th-early 20th cen- 
tury. Stlkand cotton. 2.5 cm., V 



21 



Painted, Engraved and Pictorial 





la, b. France, late 1 8tk-early 1 9lh 
century. Painted ivory or parch- 
ment, glass, metal, 3.7 cm.. Ill 

2. France, 19tkceniury. Porcelain 
enamel dec oratioJi, 3.5 cm., I 



4a, h. Europe, late I8th-early 19th 
century. Painted ivory, glass, metal 
3.6 cm.. Ill 



6a, b. France, late 18th century 
Painted ivory, glass, metal 
3.7 cm. .Ill 

7a, b. France, late 18th century. Cut 
paper, silk, glass, copper, 3.5 cm., IV 



9a, h. France, early 19th century 
Painted glass, copper, 3.5 cm.. Ill 



11. Europe, late I8th-early I9fh cen- 
tury. Painted ivory, glms, metal 
3.7 cm.. Ill 

12. France, late ISth-early I9th cen- 
tury. Glass, reverse-painted, metal 
3.7 cm. ,111 



3a, b, c, d. France, 18th century 
Painted ivory, glass, metal 
3.5 cm.. Ill' 



5a, b. c. France, 18th century 
Silverpoint drawing on paper, glass 
metal, 3.6 cm., Ill 



8. Europe, late 18th-early I9th cen- 
tury. Painted paper, metal 
3.8 cm.. Ill 



10. France, late 1 8th-early 19th cen- 
tury. Painted paper, glass, metal 
3.6cm., XVll 



13. Europe, early I9th century 
Porcelain, enamel decoration, gild- 
ing, 4.2 cm., Ill 



23 

Buttons 






^ s 




In 1855 the manufacture of shell but- 
tons was introduced into the United 
States. Soon vast quantities of mother-of- 
pearl were imported from China, 
Australia, and the South Sea Islands. A 
s 2 new note was sounded in 1891 when J. F. 

I s' Boepple recognized the potential value 

« S of the fresh water mussels at Muscatine, 

Iowa. By the turn of the century the 
annual production of fresh water shell 
buttons stood at 4,759,671 gross, and 
button factories dotted the banks of the 
Mississippi from Goodhue County, Min- 
t'v^' ^g nesota, to Pike County, Missouri. 

' m MW s'^ Inl859a new material of vegetable 

1 1 origin made its appearance. This was the 

1 1 nut of the corozo palm (genus 

1 1 Acrocomia) of Ecuador, Colombia, and 

fi -.ni-tf-- Panama. Its commercial name, veeretable 
^tttlf *%otl: ivory, suggests its color and texture. It is 









S-S 




strong, readily worked, and easily dyed. 
For decades, this material was used for 
buttons on the more expensive grades of 
suits and overcoats. 

The trend away from natural mate- 
rials made itself felt as early as the 1770s, 
when papier-mache was used. This was 
followed by hard rubber, of which but- 
tons were made for the Army and Navy 
from 1851 to 1869, and for civilian wear 
as well. In Newark, New Jersey, the 
brothersj. W. and I. S. Hyatt invented 
celluloid in 1869. This was the first of the 
chemical blendings of unexpected sub- 
stances that form a material totally dif- 
ferent in appearance from any of their 
ingredients. In the long list of modern 
plastics an important place in the button 
field is held by those made of cotton 
treated with acids and camphor, of car- 
bolic acid and formaldehyde, of fur- 
fural, urea, and the casein of milk. 



What future is there for buttons? 
People who know the industry say that, 
in spite of the slide fastener and other 
devices which have replaced buttons to 
some degree, the industry will continue 
to grow and to improve. Buttons, freed 
again for decorative use, are beginning 
to attract the attention of designers 
capable of expressing the nature of the 
newer materials. Perhaps they will enjoy 
a second golden age. 

7 his publication salutes those who 
enjoy the historical and aesthetic allure 
of buttons. Although button collectors 
are legion, their pursuit need not be 
formal, methodical, or even habit-form- 
ing. Still one of the simplest amenities of 
modern life, the ubiquitous button box is 
the mark of a well-rim household. Thus 
well entrenched, the button need never 
yield to the upstart slide fastener Who 
ever heard of a family zipper box? 



Carl C. Dauterman 




25 



Ceramic 






6c 



:^. 






*6b 



y^% 



6d 



6e 






/. Europe or United States. 19th cen- 
tury. Porcelmn. enamel decoration 
gilding, 3.3 cm.. Ill 

2. Europe or United States. 19th 
century. Porcelain, enamel decora- 
tion, gilding, 3.3 cm., Ill 




12a 



12b 




3a, b. England, late I8th-early 19th 
century. J asperu'are, gla^s, metal 
3.6 cm.. Ill 

-fa.b. Probably England, early 19th 
century. J asperware, shell, silver 
3.6 cm.. Ill 

5a, h. Europe, 19th century 
Porcelain, enamel decoration 
2.6 cm.. 1 

6a. b, c, d. e. Probably England, 
about 1870. Porcelain, enamel 
decoration, 1 cm. to 2.9 cm., XV III 

7a, b. Hungary, about 1940 
Earthenware, 2.6 cm., 2.8 cm.. II 

8. Frank Reuss Kelly, Norwalk, 
Connecticut, about 1940 
Earthenware, 2.8 cm., VI 

9a, b. England, late I8th-early 19th 
century. J asperware, 1.5 an.. 
2.5 cm., I 



10a, b. Englaiul, late Wth-early 
I9th century. J cL^perware. paste 
silver,3.5 cm.. Ill 

I la. b. England, late 18th century 
Jasperware, copper, 3.3 cm., XIV 

12a. b. England, late Wth-early 
1 9th centtiry. JcLsperware 
1.9x3.6cm.,1.5x3cm..l 

13. England. 19th century 
Jasperware. copper, steel 
3.7 cm., I II 



27 



Plastic 



o 



iXj, 





f T lI Tl 



m 




w^ 








lib 




L Europe or United States, 20th 
century. Plastic, 1.7 cm., V 

2. Europe or United 5fato, 20th 
century. Phytic. I cm., V 

3. Europe or United States. 20th 
century. Plastic, 1.5 cm., V 

4. Europeor U mted States, 20th 
century. Plastic, 1. 1 cm., V 

5. Europe or UnitedStates, 20th 
century. Plastic, 3 cm., V 



502001 



6. Europeor United States, 20th 
century. Plastic, 1.9 cm.. V 

7. Europeor UnitedStates, 20th 
century, Plastic, 2.5 cm., V 

8. Probably United Stati'S, 20th 
century. Plastic and foil, 2 cm. , V 

9. Europeor UnitedStates, 20th 
century. Molded and cut plastic , 2 .9 
cm.,V 



10. Europe or United States, 20th 
century. Plastic andfoil, 2.2 cm., V 

I la, b. Probably Umtrd States, 20th 
century. Molded translucent plastic, 
2.3cm.,V 

12. Europe or United States. 20th 
century, Plastic, 1.8 cm., V 

13. Europe or United States, 20th 
centui-y, Plastic, 2.7 x2.3 cm., V 

14. Europe or United States. 20th 
century. Plastic, 3 cm., V 




13 



OCEAN PEARL 

SHIRT 
BUTTONS 




Display card of pearl buttons. 
United States, 20th century. Pearl, 
paper. 12 cm. (height) Cooper 
Hewitt Mu-ieum Picture library 



29 



Selected Bibliography 



Casebolt, Florence Waye. But- 
ton Gardens and Diminutive 
Arrangements. Berkeley, Cal.: 
Button Garden Studio, 1952. 



General 

Adams, Jane Yord. A Complete 
Classification of Black Glass 
Buttons. Washington, D.C.: 
National Button Society. 1963. 
A Complete Classification of Clear 
and Colored Glass Buttons. 
Washington, D.C: National 
Button Society, c. 1964. 

Adkins, Gertrude Dullard and 
Dorothy Foster Brown. Price 
Guide to Button Parade. Des 
Moines, Iowa: Wallace-Home- 
stead Book Co.. 1970. 

Albert. L\\\i2in Svrtilh . A Button 
Collector's Journal. Highistown, 
N.J. : 1941. 

A Button Collector's Second 
Journal. Yardley, Pa.: The Cook 
Printers. 1941. 

Albert. Lillian Smith and 
Kathryn Kent (pseud.). The 
Complete Button Book- With a 
foreword by Carl W. 
Drepperd. 1st ed. Garden City, 
N.Y.:Doubleday, 1949. 

Brown, Dorothy Foster. Bw//oh 
Parade; a book oj groupings drawn 
and described by Dorothy Foster 
Broum. 4th new enlarged and 
revised ed. Des Moines, Iowa: 
Wallace-Homestead Book Co., 
c. 1968. 

Button Reinew. Monthly. St. 
Paul, Minn. 



Cassidy, Ethel Bugbee. Little 
Buttons. Wellington, O.: Wel- 
lington Printing Co., 1943. 

Chamberlin. Erwin and 
Minerva }A\nev. Button Heritage. 
Shelbourne, N.Y.: FE. Faulk- 
ner Printing Co., 1967. 

// bottone italiano nel mondo, 
Piacenza,24 Apnle, 1971. Con- 
ference of 24 April, 1971. 
Piacenza. 1971. 

Grouse, L. Erwina (Blan- 
chard), and Marguerite Maple. 
Button Classics Chicago; Light- 
ner Publishing Co., c. 1941. 

Crummett, Polly De Steiguer. 
Button Collecting. Chicago: 
Lightner Publishing Co.. 1939. 

Crummett. Polly De Steiguer 
and PS. Freeman 
Button Guide Book No. 1: ThAr 
Manufacture, Use on Costumes, 
and CoUectihle Types. Watkins 
Glen, N.Y.: American Life 
Foundation; sold and distribu- 
ted by Century House, c. 1969. 

Epstein. Yy\2L\\3i. Buttons (Collec- 
tors' Blue Book Series). New 
York: Walker & Co.. 1968. 

Ertell, Sally C. The Collector's 
Encyclopedia of Buttons. New 
York: Crown Publishers. 1967. 



Ertell, Viviane Beck. The Color- 
ful World of Buttons. Princeton: 
The Pyne Press, c. 1973. 

Freeman, PS. Button Guide Book 
No. 2. Watkins Glen, New York: 
American Life Foundation; 
sold and distributed by Cen- 
tury House, 1972. 

Hake. Theodore L. The Button 
Book;an illustrated price ^ide to 
5 .000 pmback buttons issued from 
1896-1972, including listings of 
buttons used as sets. New York: 
Dafran House, 1972. 

Hobbies: The Magazine for Collec- 
tors. Chicago: Lightner Publish- 
ingCo..l931. 

Houart, Victor. Buttons: A Col- 
lector's Guide. New York: 
Scribner,c.l977. 

Hostest, Walter Ludenscheid und 
die Knopf e. Ludenscheid Ger- 
many: Kommissions-Verlag R. 
Beucker.l96L 

Jarvis, Louis Huntington. But- 
tons Are Art. Grand Rapids, 
Mich.: Wobbema&Son, 
1945 (?). 

Jones, Nora Owens and Edith 
Mattison Vuoss. Black Glass But- 
tons. Ypsilanli, Mich.: Univer- 
sity Lithoprinters, 1945. 



JustButtons; Magazine for Button 
Collectors. Hartford, Ct., 
c. 1948. 

Lamm, Ruth, and others. 

G uidelinesfor Collecting China 
Buttons. Drawings by Charles 
Lamm and Lester Lorah. 
Photographs by Alphaeus H . 
Albert. Hightstown, N.J.: 
National Button Society of 
America, 1970. 

Luscomb, Sally C. The Collector's 
Encyclopedia of Buttons. New 
York: Crown Publishers, 1967. 

Luscomb, Sally C. and Ethel 
Cassidy. The Old Button Box. 
Southington,Cl., 1951. 

National Button Society. 
National Button Bulletin. 
Springfield. Mass. Title varies: 
\9A2 A%, Quarterly Bulletin; ]^n. 
1947, The Button Bulletin. 
National Button Sonety Year Book. 
Published for the membership 
only. 

Newsome, Arden J. Button Col- 
lecting and Crafting. New York: 
Lothrop, Lee and Shepard., 
c. 1976, 

Nicholls. Florence Zacharie 
Ellis. Button Hand Book: Com- 
paratwe Values, Serial Numbers. 
Ithaca, N.Y: The Cayuga 
Press, Inc., 1943; supplements, 
1944, 1945. 



Olson, Lorraine. Old Buttons 
and Their Values. Chicago: 
Lightner Publishing Co., 
c. 1940. 



{ Parkyn. Harry Gordon. 5/iou/- 
der-belt Plates and Buttons. Alder- 

, shot, England: Gale &PoIden, 

j 1965. 

1 

^ Peacock, Primrose. Zfecofmng- 
Old Buttons. (Discovering series, 

, no. 213) Aylesbury, England: 
Shire Publications, 1978. 

; Prague, Waldes Museum. 
Knopfmuseum Waldes (Sammlung 
vonKleideTverschlmsen). Prague- 
Vrsovice, 1918. 

II Roberts, Catherine Chris- 
topher. Who's Got the Button? Old 
and New Angles to Button Collect- 
ing. New York: McKay. 1962. 

Schiff, Stefan O. Buttons: Art m 
Miniature. (Lancaster-Miller 
Art Series). Berkeley. Califor- 
nia: Lancaster-Miller. 1979. 

ShullThelma. The Button 
String. Chicago: Lightner Pub- 
lishing Co., 1942. 

Squire, Gwen. Buttons, a Guide 
for Collectors. London: Fre- 
derick Muller. Ltd.. 1972. 

Swenson, Evelyn. Picture But- 
tons of the Past. Stratford, Con- 
necticut: New England Pub- 
lishing Co., 1978. 



History 

Albert. Alphaeus Homer. But- 
tons of the Conjederaey: a descrip- 
tion and illustrated catalog of the 
buttons worn by the troops of the 
Confederates [sic. ] States of 
America. 1861-65. Isled. Hights- 
town. N.J. ,1963. 



Albert, Alphaeus Homer. Polit- 
ical Campaign and Commemorative 
Buttons; an diustrated catalog with 
descriptions of the buttons used dur- 
ing the various political campaigns, 
including the Wash^ngto^l inau- 
gural buttons and other com- 
memoratwe and patriotic buttons. 
Isted. Hightstown. N.J., 1966. 

Albert. Alphaeus Homer. 
Record of American Uniform and 
Historical Buttons, with supple- 
ment. 177 5-197 3. Boyerstown. 
Pa.: Boyerstown Publishing 
Co., 1973. 

Albert, Alphaeus Homer. 
Record of Ameruan Uniform and 
Historical Buttons, 1775-1976. 
Bicentennial ed. Hightstown. 
N.J.,c. 1977. 

Albert, Alphaeus Homer. 
Washington Historual Buttons, and 
Other Buttons Having The Portrait 
of Washington or Alluding to Him 
and His Adtninistration. With 
loreword by Edward H. Davis. 
Isted. Hightstown, N.J., 1949. 

Davis, Edward H. The Lafayette 
Presentation Button, 1824. 
Waterbury. Ct.: Mattatuck His- 
torical Society, 1951. 



Ford. Grace (Horney). The But- 
ton Collectors' History; with draw- 
ings by Caroline Ford B rown and 
Sally Bryan Ford. Springfield, 
Mass.: Pond-EkbergCo., 1943. 

Hake, Theodore L. Encychpe- 
dm oj Political Buttons, United 
States, 1896-1972; including 
pnees, campaign history, technical 
faets and statistics. New York: 
Dafran House, c. 1974. 

Political Buttons, Book 11: 1920- 
1976. York, Pennsylvania, 
Americana and Collectibles 
Press. 1977. 

PolitKal buttons. Book III: 1 789- 
1916. York. Pennsylvania, 
Americana and Collectibles 
Press, 1978. 

Jenkins, Dan L. Military Buttons 
of the Gidf Coast, 1711-1830. 
Mobile, Ala.: Museum of the 
City of Mobile, 1973. 



Johnson. David F. The American 
Historical Buttons. New Market. 
N.J. ,1942. 

Johnson, David Funston. Uni- 
Jorm Buttons; American Armed 
Forces, 1784-1948. Watkins 
Glen. N.Y.: Century House. 
1948. 

McGuinn, William ¥. American 
Military Button Makers and 
Suppliers: Their Backmarks and 
Dates. Isted. McLean (?)Va.: 
McGuinn.c. 1978. 

Parent. Albert L. Leboutona 
trovers les ages. With preface by 
Henry Clouzot. Paris, c. 1935. 

Prague, Waldes Museum. Le 
bouton a travers les siecles pro- 
gramme; compt rendu de 
I'ouverature du musee du 25 
septembre 1918. Prague- 
Vrsovice: Musee Waldes, 1920. 

Peacock. Primrose. Antiquebut- 
tons: Their History and How to Col- 
lect Them. New York; Drake 
Publishers, 1972. 

Vickers-Smith. Evelyn. Uniform 
Buttons: Enfield Arsenal Manual. 
Washington, D.C, Enfield 
Arsenal, 1965. 



Manufacture 

The Complete Checklist of American 
Button Makers, Manufacturers i^ 
Outfitters. 17 10-1976. Stratford, 
Ct.: New England Publishing 
Co., 1977. 

Bruggeniann, Magda. Con- 
tabilidad pa ra jdbricas de botones. 
Mexico City, 1952. 

Congresso intemazionale sm prob- 
lemi dell 'industria dei bottom e 
qffini, Piacenzn. 1972. Piacenza: 
Tip. M.Pignocca, 1972. 

Jones, William Unite. TheBut- 
tonlndiLstry. Morris. Ct.: Robert 
Shuhi, 1979. Reprint of edition 
first published in London in 
1924 by Pitman, 

SchmitI, F. Manuel dujabricant 
de boulons etpeignes, articles en cel- 
lulmd et en gaUilithe. Paris: J. 
Bailliere. 1923. 



31 

Donor Code 



I: 


Gift of Sarah and Eleanor Hewitt 


II: 


Gift of William Heimann 


III: 


Gift of Julia Hutchins Wolcott 


IV: 


Bequest of Sarah Cooper Hewitt 


V: 


Gift of Lillian Smith Albert 


VI: 


Purchased in memory of Sarah and Eleanor Hewitt 


VII: 


Gift of Mrs. William Bamberger 


VIII: 


Gift of Janet Flanner 


IX: 


Gift of Norvin Hewitt Green 


X: 


Gift of Mrs. Alphaeus Albert 


XI: 


Gift of Marian Hague 


XII: 


Gift of Abram M. Blumberg 


XIII: 


Gift of Grace Lincoln 


XIV: 


Gift of Mrs. J. Woodward Haven 


XV: 


Gift of R. Keith Kane from the Estate of Mrs. Robert B. Noyes 


XVI: 


Gift of Mrs. Gertrude Howell Patterson 


XVII: 


Gift of Susan Bliss 


XVIII: 


Gift of Serbella Moores 



XIX: Anonymous gift 



Cooper-Hewitt Museum 




2 East 91st Street 
New York NY 10028 



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